International Cricket

Match Preview – CSK vs GT, Indian Premier League 2024, 7th Match

Match details

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Gujarat Titans (GT)
Chennai, 1930 IST (1400 GMT)

Big picture: Gaikwad vs Gill

When Chennai Super Kings ran into Gujarat Titans in a bizarre three-day rain-hit final in IPL 2023, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya were in charge of the teams, respectively. Shubman Gill took over Titans’ captaincy after Hardik had moved back to Mumbai Indians in what is arguably the biggest player trade in IPL history.

Then, on the eve of the IPL season-opener, Ruturaj Gaikwad was announced as CSK’s new captain. Gill’s expression at the captains’ conference was roughly how most of Chennai reacted to Dhoni handing over the captaincy to Gaikwad. Gill and Gaikwad, the most inexperienced Indian captains in the IPL, will now face each other at Chepauk on Tuesday.

Gill and Gaikwad have already grabbed the headlines with their captaincy. After Titans snatched victory from Mumbai Indians’ grasp in Ahmedabad on Sunday, their debutant Spencer Johnson talked up Gill’s leadership, saying the captain sat alongside him on the bus to help calm his nerves in the lead-up to the game. As for Gaikwad, he rifled through fielding changes in his first game as IPL captain, and one such change, which involved extra-cover moving to sweeper cover, brought CSK their first wicket.

The other interesting subplot in this game is the Chennai boys vs Chennai Super Kings. Titans have as many as five Tamil Nadu players in their side – Sai Sudharsan, Sai Kishore, Vijay Shankar, Shahrukh Khan and Sandeep Warrier. Among the quintet, Sudharsan, Kishore and Vijay are set to slot into Titans’ XI or XII (accounting for the Impact Player). Sudharsan, Kishore and Vijay all have been part of CSK or Junior Super Kings, their grassroots programme. And back in the day, Shahrukh used to be a ball boy at Chepauk for IPL matches. In contrast, CSK don’t have a single local player in their main squad.

At his pre-match press conference, CSK coach Stephen Fleming was even asked if this would be a “home game” for Titans. “A few of the players will be at home in terms of conditions,” Fleming responded. “But yeah, it’s hard to say.”

Team news: Pathirana links up with CSK

Sri Lanka’s death-bowling specialist Matheesha Pathirana has joined CSK’s squad in Chennai, but it remains to be seen if he will be rushed into action after having suffered a hamstring injury. Mustafizur Rahman, who marked his CSK debut with four wickets in a space of ten balls in the season-opener, could keep his place in the team ahead of Pathirana.

Toss and Impact Player strategy

If CSK bat first, Shivam Dube should start, with Mustafizur coming in as an Impact Player in the second innings. It could be vice-versa if CSK bowl first.

Chennai Super Kings

Possible bat-first XI: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad (capt), 2 Rachin Ravindra, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Daryl Mitchell, 5 Shivam Dube, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Sameer Rizvi, 8 MS Dhoni (wk), 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Maheesh Theekshana, 11 Tushar Deshpande

Possible bowl-first XI: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad (capt), 2 Rachin Ravindra, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Daryl Mitchell, 5 Ravindra Jadeja, 6 Sameer Rizvi, 7 MS Dhoni (wk), 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Tushar Deshpande, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Gujarat Titans

Having won their first match of the season, Titans might persist with the same XI and Impact Player strategy. Sudharsan should start if they bat first, and could be replaced by Mohit Sharma or one of the bowlers. And it could be vice-versa if Titans bowl first.

Possible bat-first XI: 1 Shubman Gill (capt), 2 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 3 Sai Sudharsan, 4 Azmatullah Omarzai, 5 Vijay Shankar, 6 David Miller, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 R Sai Kishore, 11 Spencer Johnson

Possible bowl-first XI: 1 Shubman Gill (capt), 2 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 3 Azmatullah Omarzai, 4 Vijay Shankar, 5 David Miller, 6 Rahul Tewatia, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Umesh Yadav, 9 R Sai Kishore, 10 Spencer Johnson, 11 Mohit Sharma

Stats that matter

  • Gaikwad has a strong head-to-head record against Rashid Khan in the IPL: 95 runs off 60 balls in seven innings at an average of 47.5, and a strike rate of 158.3. Only Sanju Samson (111) has scored more runs than Gaikwad against Rashid in the IPL.
  • Ajinkya Rahane’s first-ten balls strike-rate since the start of IPL 2023 is 158.3. In comparison, his first-ten balls strike-rate between 2018 and 2020 was just 85.1.
  • Dhoni has hit Umesh Yadav for 68 runs off 38 balls in seven IPL innings with just one dismissal at a strike-rate of nearly 180.
  • Since IPL 2023, Titans’ seamers have taken 25 wickets in the powerplay at an economy rate of 8.35. No other team has picked up more wickets in the first six overs during this period. Azmatullah Omarzai, a genuine swing bowler from Afghanistan, has strengthened Titans even further in this area.
  • Pitch and conditions

    The Chepauk pitch that was used on Friday was an atypical one, with not much turn on offer for the spinners. Instead, the ball slid on to the bat nicely, especially in the early exchanges. Believe it or not, CSK’s spinners didn’t take a single wicket in the season-opener. It was only the second instance of CSK’s spinners going wicketless at Chepauk since May 2015.

    “If you’ve noticed my comments over the last couple of seasons, we’ve been guessing a little bit about the wicket as well,” Fleming said. “But it looks pretty good [today].”

    Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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